Better Late Than Never, Israel Outlaws Business with Iran

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A picture dated on August 28, 2007 shows Israeli businessman Sammy Ofer (R), chairman of Ofer Brothers Group, a shipping transport company, posing for a picture with current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), then opposition leader, and his wife Sara during a function in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Moti Kimhi / AFP / Getty Images)

A month after the U.S. State Department sanctioned an Israeli shipping company for doing business with Iran, the government of Israel approved a measure making the same thing illegal on its books, too.

Mortification ensued in late May when the Ofer Bros. Group was spanked by State for selling a used oil tanker to the Islamic Republic in 2010.  Along the way it became clear that Ofer ships had been docking at Iranian ports for years, with no fear of consequences from Jerusalem because somehow Israeli law did not forbid doing business with the regime the Jewish State constantly and loudly tells the world is trying to erase it from the map. That changed Sunday when the cabinet of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a new law, or at least administrative measures that will finally declare Iran and its proxies “enemy elements.” There’ll be a new directorate and everything.

“These recommendations ensure that Israel will stand alongside other countries at the forefront of sanctions against Iran, in order to cause the Iranian regime to abandon its plans to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said in a statement afterward.

One measure of how badly Israel needed to bring its laws into line on Iran: There was no grumbling Sunday about the timing of State’s original announcement against the billionaire Ofers.  It came May 24, the day Netanyahu addressed a cheering joint session of Congress to cap an exceptionally tendentious Washington visit that included the prime minister lecturing President Obama during a White House photo op.